Saturday, December 31, 2011

Finished - With 6 Hours to Spare

A little while ago I final finished my Christmas stocking.  And there is almost 6 hours left in this year!

Tomorrow I go back to what I truly love quilting (and maybe just a little knitting on the side).

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas,
  when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
  not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

. . . . sort of

As you know, I have been madly working on my Christmas stocking, trying to finish by today. Although I am close - it is not quite finished.

Yesterday morning about 10, I finished all the cross stitch -  and had to do all the back stitching and embellishment work.  I worked like a fiend late into last night and most of today but couldn't quite finish and still have a life.

I am not going to do what I normal do at the end of Christmas and put it up and say I will finish it before next year.  By New Year's Eve it will be done!

We did manage a nice long walk at the Isle of Palms this afternoon and I played with my new camera some - so

Happy Christmas to  all,
  and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Stocking Progress

With less than a week to go until Christmas Eve, I am making progress on my stocking.  I've been working on it so hard - that I wore out a needle this morning. 

To the Toe!

In addition to many hours of cross-stitching (this is the last piece I will ever do!), I also made six Christmas tree blocks for a exchange.  I wanted the trees to have some dimension so I used Heat n' Bond Ultra which will maintain a shape and does not require edge stitching.  I also painted the edges with Lumiere paint to add a bit of "snow".  My tree point was terrible - but that is the beauty of embellishments - you can hide a multitude of sins.

While working on the stocking I had two visitors to my bird tree.
A Great Blue heron

A Snowy Egret

I absolutely love my new camera.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Will I Hang My Stocking Christmas Eve?

I haven't posted in awhile, but I have been busy. 

I taught a class on making a wine bottle gift bag using machine applique at our local quilt shop earlier in the month using my own pattern design,

knitted like crazy on Christmas gifts (sorry no pic's) as some are still to be given, worked on several challenge quilts, got a new camera (I love it - but there is a learning curve)

Bird taken from same place as where I took the Eagle pics in the last post.  What a difference!
and made significant progress on my Christmas stocking (I am in the toe area). 

I have hung the rest of the family's stockings by the chimney with care - but now the big question is will I hang my stocking Christmas Eve?

Two weeks and counting.  Stay tuned.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Progress and Visitors

At the beginning of this year I started back on my Christmas stocking and although it probably won't be finished for this Christmas, I am making progress.

This morning the cat was woken by a very strange bird noise outside and when I investigated, I found this pair in our dead tree (courtesy of a terrible lightening storm 2 years ago).  I've seen bald eagles in the area but this is the first pair in our yard. 

I am disappointed in the picture and am looking to get a new camera to better capture the wonderful area we live in.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick not Treat

I have been working on a pair of socks for myself since the bus ride to Asheville.  They were coming along quite nicely - 38 rows finished.  They are from Patons Kroy Socks yarn in Ragg Shades and knit in a simple 3x1 rib pattern.  I had made a pair earlier this year for my daughter out of the same yarn but in a different color.  I loved her socks - they fit well and I want to keep them for myself.  But as a good mother - I am letting her have them. 

Sock - AM October 31st
I wanted to make mine slightly longer and I knew I had yarn left over when I finished her pair but was not sure how much. The extra had disappeared into my studio - to be unearthed today as I was doing a massive straighten up.  I was so excited to find the yarn - until I looked in the bag and saw the needles.  I realized to my dismay that her socks were knit on size 1 and I had been using size 2 for mine.

After much trying on of her sock and my partial finished one - I decided that 38 rows was not too far in and that a sock that spent its life bunched at my ankles would not be one that would be worn often. So I frogged it.
Sock - PM October 31st

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair or SAFF

Yesterday I was fortunate to go to Asheville, NC to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair with the Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild.  We were up early to catch the bus and spent the morning and evening riding and knitting.  Spent the day visiting the animals - llamas,

A camera shy llama

A too cute alpaca

 and angora bunnies (no sheep - the arrived as we were leaving) and lots, and lots of wool and yarn.

We came home with lots of new fiber and yarn to play with

But left some for the rest of the southeast knitters, spinners and weavers.  The show runs until Sunday at 4.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

School - An ATW Challenge

My art group issues challenges on a regular basis and on our last one was revealed on Saturday.  We were to take a book, an article, or a class that we had always wanted to explore further and create a piece.

I had purchased a book at our Cobblestone Quilt Guild auction a few years ago - Designing Tessellations, The Secrets of Interlocking Patterns by Jinny Beyer.  Tessellations are interlocking designs that repeat across a surface.  M.C. Escher is a famous artist that uses this technique.

I had often looked at the book - but had never used it.  Three months ago when the challenge was issued I thought, at last an excuse to dig into this book.  I read the book, I played with the exercises, and I decided to do fish.

I started drawing fish try to come up with a pattern that would interlock and repeat.   I do not know how many fish I have drawn in the past three months - but they are quite a school.  The Friday before the challenge was due - I finally had the light bulb moment and designed a fish that worked and that would be easy to sew. 

Here is the result:


All the fabric used is my own shibori paint work and the fish are both fused and thread sketched. 

I like this pattern and technique and may start a series based this.  I am thinking Tardy, Tutor, Class . Cast . . . .

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sunny Side Up

I finished my yellow monochromatic quilt in time for the September Cobblestone meeting - I have just been slow on posting it.  The squares on this quilt finish at 1/2".

I added lots of beading and was pretty happy with the final product - until I took this picture and then the light yellow square on the edge of the beads just jumped out at me.  So I shaded it with a water color crayon.

That was better but I still didn't like the shading by the beads - so more crayon work and I think it is finally finished.

I have started working on a piece I call "Baby Brother" - the squares on this quilt will finish at 1/4".

I think this will be as small as I go!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dogwood Road

I am going to be teaching my first class in a quilt shop this month!  I have taught at guild meetings here and in North Carolina - but this is my first multi-week course.  I am doing a five week class on beginning quilting. 

The quilt we are going to work on is a variation of a Jacob's Ladder quilt (thanks Sue for the recommendation - both to the shop and for the quilt pattern):

In the class I am going to teach selecting fabric, cutting fabric with a rotary cutter, machine piecing, quilt marking, machine quilting (the pattern is a very gentle curve that I did with a regular foot),


 binding, sleeves and labels.

The class is going to be on Tuesday evenings starting September 27th and will be at our new quilt shop in town Stitch n 'Sew Fabrics

I wanted to do a project that is doable in five weeks and that someone will end up with a finished project in the end (there will be homework in order to finished the quilt in the five weeks).  My first quilt took over twenty years to finish as it was to big and boring to finish any faster! 

I hope that this class will help bring more people into the art form I love.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Silk Paper and a Painted Shibori Technique

Two weeks ago several of my art group, ATW, met with a few members of Fiber Fanatics from the Myrtle Beach area to play with silk paper and a painted shibori technique using Setacolor paint. 

Here are a few of the pieces from Saturday:

Two pieces of silk paper

Wrapped on a 2" pipe

Wrapped diagonally on a 1" pipe

The clean up cloth wrapped on a 1" pipe
Last weekend I worked on additional painted pieces and took a few pictures to document the process.

I have used Setacolor for years but had never had such good results - my pieces tended to be on the pale side.  I think I have always water the paint down to much.

The technique uses PVC pipe, but no string.  I found the best results to start with a slightly damp fabric.  Thin the paint no more the half with water and then paint the fabric in a random fashion.

Then wrap the fabric around a PVC pipe - this piece was around a 2" piece. I think a 1" pipe works better.  On Saturday I wrapped the pipes tightly and had trouble with the next step so this piece was wrapped looser - but I was not as happy with the end result.

Now take the piece and smooched it together from both ends.

It makes a bit of a mess so be old clothes are a good idea.

Then set it aside to dry - completely - don't rush this step as your results will suffer. This is the result. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Socks and A New Knitter in the Family

I finished my second pair of socks a few days ago.  Much better the first - they are actually wearable.  Unfortunately, I made them for my daughter, so I have to start again to get my pair!

It seems hard to believe that I can now knit with size 1 needles.

Of course the socks couldn't match - she doesn't have a single plain pair to her name.

The bigger news is that she is now knitting (something she swore she would never do) but the genes caught up with her and since last Saturday she has made great progress on her Tom Baker Doctor Who Scarf.

Hard to believe she has never touch a knitting needle before.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Challenging Challenge

Several months ago my fiber art group had a monochromatic challenge for which I chose green and made a piece with 1" squares and applique leaves.  It was quite a challenge as it end up having nearly 900 squares.  Our guild, Cobblestone Quilters, has issued a similar monochromatic challenge and I have begun work on a miniature piece in a color that I don't normally gravitate to - - yellow.

I had yellow fabric pieces left over from a recent quilt I made for a family member and decided I needed to work in a color that is not in my usually palette.  Then I got a little crazy - I decided that if 1 inch squares worked - what about 1/2".  So I started cutting 1 " strips

Of course I soon found out that I did not have enough variety in the color - so back to the paints and the white on white prints.

Then I made nine patches (an improvement on the method I used for my last monochromatic piece)

And then I stitch the nine patches together to make a  13 1/2"  by 10 1/2"piece using lots of pins.  

If you do the math that means 567 individual 1/2" squares. 

I don't learn.

I have started the quilting - using number 8 pearl white cotton that I painted with Setacolor and used in the needle not the bobbin case.  With a large needle and a slow machine pace, it worked great.  With the tone on tone colors the picture I took of the quilting just doesn't show.  I have quilted large circles that will have a trapunto effect when quilting is done, so I just used batting and no backing.  I plan to do a lot of beading in the circles before adding another layer of batting and a backing before finishing the machine quilting.

Luckily the deadline has been extended from August to September, so I might just finish in time.  

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Trip to Atlanta

Two weekends ago we traveled to Atlanta for my son to attend the first ever National Brass Symposium.  He had a great time meeting and listening to the super stars of his field (trumpet) and came back much inspired.

While he was enjoying the music - my husband and I went to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, a must see if you are ever in the area.  I am the gardener but my husband also truly enjoyed the day.  As an engineer he especially liked the Kendeda Canopy Walk.  The walk was a suspension bridge that seem to just float in the air.

Every time I turned around I found another plant or flower I would love to have in my garden - or given the troubles I have with the animals around here in a quilt.
The Japanese garden

A trumpet creeper 

The thistles were just starting to bloom
The orchid center was incredible with an amazing  variety of plants   


A very inspiring day for us all.

 Dale Chihuly's Parterre Fountain